DUP's Joanne Bunting tops poll in East Belfast
THE DUP's Joanne Bunting and Alliance's Naomi Long have been elected on the first count in East Belfast.
Ms Bunting topped the poll with 5,538 first preference votes, closely followed by Ms Long's 5,482 votes. Both polled above the quota of 5,311.
A councillor until 2011 in Castlereagh, Ms Bunting was selected by the party to contest the seat left vacant by Peter Robinson.
He had been an MLA in East Belfast since 1998, but in recent months chose to stand down from the assembly and as DUP leader.
Alliance's deputy leader Ms Long is returning to Stormont after losing her Westminster seat last year to a unionist pact in support of the DUP's Gavin Robinson.
Ms Long had won the seat after sensationally defeating Peter Robinson in 2010.
Counting is continuing to determine who will receive the remaining four seats in the East Belfast constituency.
The DUP will be hoping to retain its three seats from the 2011 assembly election. Alliance had two seats and the Ulster Unionists one.
The turnout in East Belfast this time was 57.23 per cent, a lift on the 53 per cent in 2011.